Facebook has said it will increase the list of false health-based claims it bans from the platform to include debunked claims about vaccines in general, such as that they are toxic or cause autism.
The social media titan said in a blog post it was increasing the types of false claims about the coronavirus, its vaccine and other vaccines that it will remove, including the unproven claim that COVID-19 is a man-made virus, and that vaccines are dangerous. Such claims are already prohibited in ads on the platform.
Facebook said it would remove groups, pages and accounts that repeatedly share the debunked claims.
The company has introduced more stringent policies to combat coronavirus vaccine misinformation during the pandemic, but has had a more hands-off approach to misinformation about other vaccines, which has rarely been removed and only when it was considered to risk “imminent harm”.
In December, Facebook announced it would remove false claims about COVID-19 vaccines that had been debunked by health experts, though in recent weeks news reports have identified Facebook pages, groups and Instagram accounts still spreading these false claims.
Facebook Inc also said it would help users find out where and when they can receive the coronavirus vaccine.
It will partner with Johns Hopkins and the AARP to reach Black, Latinx, Native Americans and people over 50 with educational content that addresses concerns those groups may have about the new vaccine.
Rightly/wrongly, this could be viewed as another attempt by ‘Big Tech’ to control the Overton window of what is deemed acceptable speech.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford and Sheila Dang. Editing by Jane Merriman and Alex Richardson.
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